The Renault Espace turns 40 this year and the French manufacturer will celebrate the fabled nameplate’s anniversary with a brand new generation model. The sixth-gen Espace will debut this spring, though it won’t be a minivan – Renault now previews the new Espace with three teaser images and confirms it will morph into an SUV.

This shouldn’t really come as a surprise given the ever-growing demand for SUVs and the shrinking MPV segment in the European markets. The new Espace will arrive in just a few months and will take the shape of an SUV in five- and seven-seat versions. Renault isn’t ready to reveal more details yet, though we already know quite a bit about the sixth-generation Espace.

Gallery: Renault Espace teaser images

Spy photos have already shown the new vehicle will be very similar in design to the Austral. The French automaker confirms the Espace will ride on the CMF-CD platform, which also underpins the Austral, and other SUVs in the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, including the Nissan X-Trail and Mitsubishi Outlander. The same architecture was also used as a base for the outgoing Espace, which was a traditional minivan.

Not much else is known at the moment but Renault says the new Espace will be “comfortable, innovative, and top of the range.” This is a little vague, though it seems that the brand will launch the new Espace as a range-topping SUV above the Austral despite the fact that both vehicles will have five-seat versions. If this assumption is correct, expect to see more luxury features and higher-quality materials onboard the Espace.

We don’t expect the Espace VI to launch with a standalone engine range given the similarities in design and tech with the Austral. The latter is offered with a base 1.2-liter turbocharged three-cylinder mill with mild-hybrid support, producing a peak output of 130 horsepower (97 kilowatts).

This is surely going to be less than adequate powertrain for the larger and heavier Espace and we expect the mild-hybrid 1.3-liter four-cylinder with 140 hp (104 kW) to be a more popular option. The Austral’s range-topping powertrain is the E-Tech Hybrid which combines a 1.2-liter engine and an electric motor with a system power of up to 200 hp (149 kW).

Gallery: Renault Grand Austral Spy Photos

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